Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps

Yangon, Global City (1853-1962)

1898
An early Burmese NGO - the Marks Memorial Fund

This is a portrait of an early Burmese NGO - the Marks Memorial Fund - taken around the time of its formation in 1898. It was comprised mainly of St John's (now Lanmadaw BEHS No. 1) "Old Boys" and raised money for scholarships for poor students.

1900
The old post office on Strand Road

The old post office on Strand Road from a photograph taken around 1900. One of my favourite buildings that no longer exist.

1900
The beginning of Boundary Road

Boundary Road (now Dhammazedi Road) in Rangoon around 1900s, not far from where the City Mart, Savoy Hotel, and Sharkey's restaurant are today. It was called "Boundary Road" because it was long the "boundary" of the city, and was the home of well-known Burmese such as one-time mayor U Pa Thein, who had a beautiful teak house. Golden Valley just to the north was not built until much later, during 1920s and 1930s.

1900s
Wingaba around 1900s.

Wingaba around 1900s.

1900
Dalhousie Street c. 1900

Dalhousie Street (now Mahabandoola Street) c. 1900 looking west from around the 35th St intersection towards the Sule Pagoda. The spire of the Emmanuel Baptist Church is visible to the left.

1901
Phayre Street (Pansodan) c. 1910

The Thomas Cook office was at 102 Phayre Street (Pansodan Middle Block).

1905
The Shwedagon-Botataung Tram c. 1905.

Downtown Yangon would do well with fewer cars, wider pavements, and good public transportation. The old tram line used to run down Shwedagon Pagoda Road and then along Strand Road to the Botataung Pagoda. Another line ran along Dalhousie Street.

1905
Balthazar Building on Bank Street

One of the most beautiful buildings in Yangon: the Balthazar building on Bank Street.The building was built in 1905 and was owned for many decades by the Armenian Balthazar family who emigrated to Burma in the 1860s (the Armenians have been an important community in Burma since the 1600s). The building once housed the offices of several companies, including Siemans, as well as law offices. It's sadly now in very poor shape, but I'm hoping the Yangon Heritage Trust will...

1905 - 1914
Americans and Burmese friends, Rangoon 1914

Americans and Burmese friends, Rangoon 1914. The woman seated in the middle is Carolyn Harding Votaw, younger sister of Warren Harding, the 29th President of the United States. She lived in Burma from 1905-1914 where husband Herber Votaw (standing behind her) was an Adventist Minister. Their house was on Lower Kemmendine, near the Lady Dufferin Hospital (now Central Women's Hospital)

1905
The Royal Hotel at 619 Merchant Street

The Royal Hotel at 619 Merchant Street (the corner of Merchant Street and Brooking Street now Bogalay-zay Street) built in 1905. Now the Gamon Pwint department store. It was once one the three top hotels in the city, together with the Strand and Minto Mansions and prided itself on being the "most modern", with the first electric lift of any hotel. The handsome restaurant downstairs was the scene of many historic meetings. The original owner, JW Darwood, also built the...

1910
The Sule Pagoda c. 1910

1910
Dalhousie Street c. 1910

Dalhousie Street (now Mahabandoola Street) near the corner of Brooking Street (now Bogalay-zay Street) c. 1910. The Secretariat had recently been built.

1914
Interesting map of 1914 Rangoon

There was an English cemetery in the north-west corner of where the Zoo is today.

1920
Phayre Street (Pansodan) "lower block" during its 1920s heyday.

From left to right - the Sofaer building, the Irrawaddy Flottila Company building (now Inland Water Transportation), Grindlay's Bank (now Myanmar Agricultural Bank), Sen and Pondit (later Dept of Information, now including the Yangon Heritage Trust office), and the Port Authority.

1920
Pazundaung train station (just north-east of downtown Rangoon) c.1920.

1920
Yangon’s oldest cinema

The New Excelsior theatre on Montgomery Street (now the Waziya on Bogyoke Aung San Street) c. 1950 screening the Esther Williams musical ""Bathing Beauty"". It is the oldest cinema in Yangon and was built in the 1920s.

1923
Pazundaung railway station 1923.

1923 - 1962
The birthplace of Myanmar democracy

This building inside the Secretariat complex was built in 1923 for the new Legislative Council. From 1937-42, during the premierships of Dr Ba Maw, U Saw and U Pu, it served as the ""House of Representatives"". In 1947 the building was used for the Constituent Assembly which drafted the country's first democratic constitution. It then became the location of parliament (the lower house) from 1948-58 and 1960-62. General Aung San, U Tin Tut, U Nu, U Ba Swe, U Kyaw...

1924
Rangoon Turf Club in 1924

 The photo shows the old Race Course near York Road 1924 (Turf Club moved to Kyaikkasan in 1926).

1925
The Strand waterfront c. 1925.